Marek's in my flock.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GingerHippie, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. GingerHippie

    GingerHippie Out Of The Brooder

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    Recently we found out that our birds are infected with Marek's. I had 15 Jersey Giant cockerels to be raised for meat, and 6 various layer breeds of the same age. (18 weeks now I believe) Probably 2 months ago is when we had our first loss. We thought it was an isolated incident until about half of my Giants got sick. We took a couple birds to our local Avian Health lab to be necropsied, and they suspected and confirmed the Marek's diagnosis.
    Every single bird that displayed symptoms have since passed away. (Over half of my flock) And the rest of the flock are carriers now along with my adult layers, most likely. We have no idea where we got it since we had not introduced any new chickens to the flock or to my laying flock. And I have raised several batches of chicks in this same coop/land within the last year without any issue, so we know it came here recently.

    NOW- some of the seemingly healthy chickens are displaying signs of leg paralysis... and (from what I read) they might not even be edible if they have tumors. So my husband and I are trying to decide if we should put down the whole flock and start over next year, or just put them down as they display symptoms. This is not a decision we take lightly, a couple of my chickens are pretty much pet status. The vet who did the necropsies assured me that we don't have to destroy our flock, but she also said it only lasts a couple months after the chickens are gone, and everything else I've read says at least a year.

    My questions are: If Marek's came to our property without a chicken "host," how easily can it leave our property? 2 of my sisters also raise chickens and my fear is that we could carry it to their flocks on our skin/clothes/shoes... is that possible?
    Is keeping a flock of Marek's carriers responsible? I mean with it being such a highly contagious and DEVASTATING disease... I would feel horrible if we are spreading it around by letting our chickens live, if that makes sense.

    Any feedback is appreciated... Whatever else it is, Marek's disease is overwhelming and stress inducing, at least for us!
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I have read where some people take the used litter out of turkey coops and use it in their chicken coops to build up immunity in their flocks, since turkeys seem immune to it.
     
  4. GingerHippie

    GingerHippie Out Of The Brooder

    33
    2
    24
    May 20, 2012
    Our Hippie Compound, WA
  5. GingerHippie

    GingerHippie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2012
    Our Hippie Compound, WA
    Hmm... I had not heard that. Interesting. I don't have access to turkey litter, but two turkeys are in the coop with the infected flock... doubt that helps much. :/ And since the birds all have the disease, or at least have been thoroughly exposed to it, my worry is that their immune systems are already compromised. That's what it seems like from what I've read at least.

    I just haven't been able to find a set answer of "Do THIS if your flock has Marek's...." ya know? Very frustrating. It seems like some people are just fine with having a Marek's positive flock... and I'M freaking out about if I'm going to accidentally spread it, sad about the chickens I've lost, and worried about which one is going to die next.

     
  6. CedarAcres

    CedarAcres Sunny Side Up

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    My Coop
  7. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    The part about the turkey litter is that turkeys seem to have immunity, so being in with turkeys or turkey litter might give newer chickens immunity to Mareks. I'm not sure this is totally correct since I read it on here somewhere, not in a professional journal or book, so someone please correct me if this is wrong.
     
  8. GingerHippie

    GingerHippie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2012
    Our Hippie Compound, WA
    Thank you :) I will check the thread out. The avian health vet emailed me back and said it CAN be transferred to another farm by our clothes/shoes/whatever. That was my biggest worry... spreading it to others.
     
  9. Ru4titanium

    Ru4titanium New Egg

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    I had a situation where I bough 6 two month old hens from a local farm (end of March 2013) then a month later bought 6 one month old hens from a guy that bought 16 hatchlings fron a hatchery in Missouri (he only wanted 10 he bought the minimun order and sold the ones he didn't want) . A few weeks later 2 of my orgional six died, legs were paralzed.. I was pretty annoyed and tried to save the second one from death and had my mother inlaw take it to a "chicken" Vet, (I was working and chicken was going down fast) she had to be put down (the chicken!) and I had a neucropsey done.. Came back as Myrek's and she was riddled with tumors... So I did some investigating and the chicks from the hatchery were innoculated with a live virus and they gave it to the older ones... Doesn't matter how isolated you keep the new chickens as Myreks is also an airborne disease able to spread for a few miles. I have one of the origional six going down right now! If you hatch your own pay the 18 cents for a shot -per chick when they hatch, the only way to innoculate for Myreks -- medicated feed doesn't do anything for it... The ones that don't die are carriers and could die from it later. Very frustrating, I take very good care of my pets and feel bad when there's nothing you can do to help them.. Live and learn!! As contageous as Myrek's is someone could've drove through your area with a sick bird, who knows!
     
  10. GingerHippie

    GingerHippie Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2012
    Our Hippie Compound, WA
    I think that's what happened cause these birds were the newest additions to my flock, I didn't add any more after I got these guys as chicks.

    Our plan is to put the rest of the Giants down since they probably have tumors. I only have 3 pullets of various breeds we are keeping in the hopes they can live long healthy lives.

     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2013

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